A Schaumburg salon owner who is also a single parent is struggling to pay for groceries for her children. Many of her employees are also struggling to support their families. As her staff members wait to receive unemployment benefits, they have been giving their food to their children and not eating themselves. Frustrated by the inability to provide for her family, she decides to defy the governor’s stay-at-home owner and open her salon. Will she face criminal penalties?
Local Law Enforcement Has the Discretion to Enforce the Stay-at-Home Order
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has extended his stay-at-home order through May 30th. The order could be extended beyond that date, as well. The governor has released a five-phase plan for re-opening. The plan states that barbershops and salons will not be allowed to re-open until phase three. Restaurants and bars can reopen under Phase 4. All regions in the state of Illinois are currently in Phase 2, as of May 11.
Governor Pritzker has stated that it is up to local prosecutors and law enforcement officers as to whether and how they will enforce the stay-at-home order. This has led to many residents wondering whether they will face criminal penalties for violating the stay-at-home order.
Are There Criminal Penalties for Violating the Stay-at-Home Order?
Local Illinois law enforcement has to decide whether or not they will act on the governor’s stay-at-home order. This week, the McLean County state’s attorney issued a joint statement with McLean’s sheriff regarding the order. They stated that they are not aware of any criminal penalties for violating the Governor’s orders. Further, they have stated that a violation of the stay-at-home order does not violate the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012.
This local agency has stated that while they will not impose criminal penalties; they will forward community calls to the Illinois State Attorney’s Office, which will review the reports. The State Attorney’s office will review all of the reports on a case-by-case basis and decide which incidents are worthy of pursuing criminal charges.
While Governor Pritzker once alluded to violations of the stay-at-home order resulting in misdemeanor criminal charges, he walked back that assertion of emergency executive power. Violators of the order are not likely to face criminal charges at this point in time.
Businesses that Reopen Could Lose Their Licenses
In addition to facing potential criminal charges for re-opening in violation of the stay-at-home orders, businesses face other potential consequences. Governor Pritzker has stated several times that businesses that open in defiance of the stay-at-home order could lose their licenses and be closed down by local Illinois public health departments. Additionally, they could community backlash from customers who contract COVID-19 from entering their businesses before the shut-down order has been lifted.
Contact Our Schaumburg Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been charged with violating Illinois’ stay-at-home order, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Glasgow & Olsson for help today.